Tuesday, August 06, 2013

On August 6, 1945...

the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima: 

“Hiroshima was the primary target of the first nuclear bombing mission on 6 August, with Kokura and Nagasaki as alternative targets. The 393d Bombardment Squadron B-29 Enola Gay, piloted by [Colonel Paul W.] Tibbets [Jr.], took off from North Field airbase on Tinian, about six hours flight time from Japan. The Enola Gay (named after Tibbets’ mother) was accompanied by two other B-29s. The Great Artiste, commanded by Major Charles Sweeney, carried instrumentation, and a then-nameless aircraft later called Necessary Evil, commanded by Captain George Marquardt, served as the photography aircraft. [....]

Some 70,000–80,000 people, or some 30% of the population of Hiroshima, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, and another 70,000 injured. Over 90% of the doctors and 93% of the nurses in Hiroshima were killed or injured—most had been in the downtown area which received the greatest damage. Out of some 70,000-80,000 people killed, 20,000 were soldiers. Most elements of the Japanese 2nd General Army were at physical training on the grounds of Hiroshima Castle when the bomb exploded. Barely 900 yards from the explosion’s hypocenter, the castle and its residents were vaporized. The bomb also killed 12 American airmen who were imprisoned at the Chugoku Military Police Headquarters located about 1,300 feet (400 meters) from the hypocenter of the blast. All died in less than a second.” From the Wikipedia entry on the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

 Image: One of the Peace Bells at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
“By the end of 1945, 140,000 residents of the city died from the bomb. In the end, more than 100 Japanese cities were destroyed by firebombing, and two by atomic bombing, causing one million casualties, including more than half a million deaths, the majority being civilian, particularly women and children.”—Yuki Tanaka (from the Introduction to the co-edited volume with Marilyn B. Young below) 

Recommended Reading: 
  • Alperovitz, Gar. The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
  • Barnaby, Frank. How Nuclear Weapons Spread: Nuclear-Weapon Proliferation in the 1990s. London: Routledge, 1993.
  • Bracken, Paul. The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics. New York: Henry Holt and Co, 2012.
  • Busch, Nathan E. and Daniel H. Joyner, eds. Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Future of Nonproliferation Policy. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2009.
  • Chakma, Bhumitra. Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons. New York: Routledge, 2009.
  • Cohen, Avner. The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
  • Falk, Richard and David Krieger. The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2012.
  • Ganguly, Šumit and S. Paul Kapur. India, Pakistan, and the Bomb. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
  • Gerson, Joseph. Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World. London: Pluto Press (published in association with the American Friends Service Committee, New England Regional Office), 2007.
  • Hoodbhoy, Pervez, ed. Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak Out. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Joyner, Daniel H. Interpreting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Kelleher, Catherin McArdle and Judith Reppy, eds. Getting to Zero: The Path to Nuclear Disarmament. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011.
  • Khan, Feroz Hassan. Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistan Bomb. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012.
  • Kiernan, Ben “The American Bombardment of Kampuchea, 1969-1973,” Vietnam Generation, 1, 1989 (Winter): 4-41.
  • Krieger, David. Zero: The Case for Nuclear Weapons Abolition. Santa Barbara, CA: A Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Book, 2013.
  • Patrikarakos, David. Nuclear Iran: The Birth of an Atomic State. London: I.B. Tauris & Co., 2012.
  • Shawcross, William. Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia. New York: Simon & Schuster, revised ed., 1987.
  • Perkovich, George. Indias Nuclear Bomb. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, revised ed., 2001.
  • Perkovich, George and James M. Acton. Abolishing Nuclear Weapons. London: Routledge/International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2008.
  • Stern, Sheldon M. The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012.
  • Tanaka, Yuki and Marilyn B. Young, eds. Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History. New York: The New Press, 2009.
  • Wilson, Ward. Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
  • Wittner, Lawrence S. Confronting the Bomb: A Short History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009.
  • Zinn, Howard. The Bomb. San Francisco, CA: City Light Books, 2010.


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